The time has finally come and gyms are reopening again around the UK. Some of us have used lockdown as an opportunity to push ourselves and take our fitness to the next level and some of us have seen our fitness habits change significantly during lockdown, understandable given the circumstances. It’s been a bumpy ride but if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the power of good health.
It’s been a long few months and as keen as you are to get back to your previous training routine, things might not be the same as they were before, both in terms of your physical fitness and the gym itself. So to ensure you have a successful return to training, take a read of our top tips.
1. Social distancing is here to stay
Equipment may be laid out differently and cleaning it when you are finished will be the norm. Depending on how busy your gym is, booking time slots and limited numbers may mean you need to be a bit more organised and plan your session in advance. If the dumbbells or rack you want are in use, have a back up plan and perform an alternative exercise while you wait for equipment to free up.
2. Preparation is key
Home workouts might have resulted in many of us forgetting or becoming slack when it comes to warming up, but it is hugely important especially when returning to training. Dedicating time to a warm up will help to prevent injuries by loosening your joints and improving blood flow to your muscles, making them less likely to rip, tear or twist during the workout. Stretching also helps prepare your muscles for the workout. It’s something that can often be overlooked but if forgotten about, can lead to more aches and pains afterwards. Check out our range of mobility products here.
3. Focus on your form and technique
After a few months off, it is always a good idea to focus on your form, especially when performing heavy lifts, squats or deadlifts. Focus on the muscle group you are targeting and slow down the movement to begin with. Good technique will help to avoid injury and will help to rebuild your strength and fitness rather than rushing into movements.
4. Don’t go too hard too soon
Depending on how active you were over lockdown, the first few weeks back at the gym might be tough. You need to walk before you can run so go easy on yourself if you have taken a break over lockdown. You might not be as strong as you were before, and there is no shame in lowering your weights or reps and easing yourself back in gently. Start off at about 40-60% of what your original weights were and stick to that for a few sessions. Gradually increase this based on how you feel afterwards and how quickly you recover. Remember, over the last few months you have likely done body weight workouts, runs and trained with limited weight and equipment. Stick to familiar movements and avoid aiming for any PB’s in your first few sessions back.
5. Sleep well
Sleep is one of the best recovery tools and your body will need it if you have taken it easy the past few months. The amount of sleep needed can vary from person to person, based on lifestyle, training schedule, genetic makeup etc. According to the National Sleep Foundation, research shows that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Athletes and those with a rigorous training schedule may well require more. Check out our blog post on how to ensure a good nights sleep here.
So whether you are rushing back as soon as gyms open, or taking a while longer, good luck, stay safe and most importantly, enjoy it!